National Register of Historic Places in Sacramento County
Sacramento was a river town; one of the main gateways to the Mother Lode in the days of '49. Traffic up the river toward the mines made Sacramento. Its selection as capitol after only four years of statehood assured its success.
The Capitol stands in the heart of the city facing the Sacramento River. It is a tall white structure crowned by an imposing dome and surrounded by Capitol Park.
It was begun in 1860 and finished in 1874. Frederic Butler designed the building in a modified Renaissance style - sometimes called Federal or Republican. Butler was possibly influenced by the National Capitol where the low flat dome was being replaced by a tall colonnaded dome, like those of the Pantheon in Rome, St. Paul's in London, and St. Peter's in Vatican City.
When completed, the Capitol rose majestically from low terraces, its austere exterior relieved by statues poised on a balustraded railing. Later landscaping, the growth of numerous trees, and the removal of the statuary altered the appearance of the Capitol to a degree, but architecturally the massive dome, its façade and vast portions of the building remain the same as originally designed.
Excerpted from the NRHP nomination submitted in 1973.